NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – Officials warn that Highway 59 is not only a drug pipeline, but it is an area where they often intercept human trafficking.
Highway 59 is the same highway where a 14-year-old girl was recently rescued in a traffic stop.
Officials said she had been reported as a runaway the same morning and two men that she met on social media picked her up.
Lieutenant Brandan Lovell of the Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office said “they even had her smoking marijuana on the trip to get her more relaxed to possibly do whatever.”
Lovell added that it is important to do more than monitor children’s phones.
“This is why not only monitoring your children’s phones is important, but also to create a safe space for them to open up to you.”Lieutenant Brandan Lovell
“I’m not saying be your child’s best friend, but let them know they can come to you if they have an issue before it’s too late. Just like this incident here it was almost too late….luckily he was a bad driver,” said Lovell.
There are many resources in East Texas to help victims or people who may be at risk.
For the Silent, in Tyler, is a nonprofit organization that helps fight sex trafficking and exploitation of girls in East Texas.
Taylor Borden, Victim Advocate of For the Silent, said “For the Silent specifically serves very high risk, or youth through the age of 21 that have been trafficked or exploited and we provide social, medical, and legal needs.”
For the Silent also provides access to counseling and peer support.
Underage victims are not the only ones being trafficked, women in general should always pay close attention to their surroundings to prevent becoming a victim.
Strangers posing as friends on social media can put you in a dangerous situation if you’re not careful. Law enforcement encourages everyone to think twice about meeting up with people you do not know.
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